Media/Policy Watch [to 19 December 2015]

Media/Policy Watch
This section is intended to alert readers to substantive news, analysis and opinion from the general media on vaccines, immunization, global; public health and related themes. Media Watch is not intended to be exhaustive, but indicative of themes and issues CVEP is actively tracking. This section will grow from an initial base of newspapers, magazines and blog sources, and is segregated from Journal Watch above which scans the peer-reviewed journal ecology.

We acknowledge the Western/Northern bias in this initial selection of titles and invite suggestions for expanded coverage. We are conservative in our outlook in adding news sources which largely report on primary content we are already covering above. Many electronic media sources have tiered, fee-based subscription models for access. We will provide full-text where content is published without restriction, but most publications require registration and some subscription level.

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The Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
Accessed 19 December 2015
It’s Time for Action on Universal Health Coverage
Huffington Post | 16 December 2015
By Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group

TOKYO, Japan — In 1961, Japan established universal health coverage, a remarkable achievement for a post-conflict country. Broadly accessible, affordable, quality health care has helped the residents of Japan live healthier, longer and more prosperous lives than people almost anywhere else in the world.

Yet for billions of others — and especially for those in the developing world — even basic health care remains out of reach. Estimates suggest that only 65 percent of the global population had access to basic health services in 2013.

Japan’s upcoming G7 presidency presents a golden opportunity to remedy this shortcoming by making progress toward universal health coverage, or UHC, in every country. Since Japan established universal health coverage, it has helped take this concept global, sharing knowledge and resources, and rallying political will…

…At the request of the G7 and G20, the World Bank Group is working with the World Health Organization and other partners to build a comprehensive response to pandemics. A critical part of the framework that we are developing is called the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility. The facility aims to eliminate financial constraints to a swift and effective response to an outbreak, using pre-arranged public and private financing, including leveraging resources from insurance and capital markets. It should save lives and protect economies.

A strong and well-funded WHO must be our next step. The reforms underway to strengthen the WHO’s emergency response capacity are a good start. We must fully fund its Contingency Fund for Emergencies.

We also need a new international mechanism designed to hold accountable the pandemic risk management community. This body must be apolitical, technical and independent of countries, institutions or funders. It should have the mandate, funding and authority to evaluate the preparedness and response plans of governments, international institutions, the private sector, civil society, and communities. By telling the truth to the highest levels of the global system, this group of trusted experts would prompt action from the entire pandemic response community.

Japan’s G7 Presidency in May is our moment for action. At the Isay-Shima summit, we have the opportunity to finally act on the unfulfilled promise of Alma Ata, and move rapidly toward universal health coverage. It also is our opportunity to prepare ourselves before the next pandemic hits. Accomplishing these goals will represent a quantum leap forward in people’s health and economic well-being.

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New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/
Accessed 19 December 2015
Flu Season Off to Slower Start This Year; Might Be Milder
The CDC’s Brammer said so far this year there’s a mix of flu viruses making people sick. In bad seasons, one nasty strain dominates…
December 18, 2015 – By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – Health – Print Headline: “Flu Season Off to Slower Start This Year; Might Be Milder”

New York City’s Flu Shot Mandate for Young Children Is Struck Down
December 18, 2015 – By MARC SANTORA – N.Y. / Region – Print Headline: “Judge Halts City’s Flu-Shot Mandate for Children, Saying It Bypassed Albany”

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Wall Street Journal
http://online.wsj.com/home-page?_wsjregion=na,us&_homepage=/home/us
Accessed 19 December 2015
Fresh Ebola Cases Damp Liberia Hopes of Eliminating Deadly Disease
New cases serve notice that the fight against the disease will take months, even years
By Drew Hinshaw in Monrovia, Liberia, and Betsy McKay in Atlanta
Updated Dec. 10, 2015

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Center for Global Development
http://www.cgdev.org/
Aligning Incentives, Accelerating Impact: Next Generation Financing Models for Global Health
12/15/15
Next Generation Financing Models in Global Health Working Group
Founded in 2002, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) is one of the world’s largest multilateral health funders, disbursing $3–$4 billion a year across 100-plus countries. Many of these countries rely on Global Fund monies to finance their respective disease responses—and for their citizens, the efficient and effective use of Global Fund monies can be the difference between life and death.